IESC’s Newest Program Will Increase Youth’s Positive Contributions to Society in North Macedonia
IESC is excited to announce the launch of a new youth-focused USAID program in North Macedonia. The five-year, $7 million Youth Actively Create Opportunities (YACO) Activity will increase youth’s positive contributions to society and collective leadership through the implementation of three main areas of intervention. YACO Component I creates partnerships in support of economic opportunities attractive to youth; Component 2 strengthens youth competencies for jobs, progressive careers, and civic life; and finally, Component 3 promotes values and experiences that underpin self-reliance such as responsibility, independence, lawfulness, strong ethics, and civic engagement.
The USAID YACO Activity comes at a key time when many youth seek options to leave North Macedonia to find work rather than remain in their communities. While many economic opportunities exist, particularly in high-growth sectors such as cybersecurity, green energy, and tourism, most youth don’t have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to pursue these careers. The YACO Activity seeks to enhance economic opportunity for youth and build both technical and soft skills to contribute to solving this fundamental issue.
IESC, with North Macedonian partners the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) Hub Skopje and Youth Educational Forum (YEF), will implement the Activity using a youth-centered local systems approach, through which we will engage resource partners and youth-focused stakeholders from across North Macedonia. Specifically, we will train youth, delivering knowledge and skills relevant to high-growth economic opportunities, as well as soft and civic skills. With resource partners, we will co-invest in enhancing and expanding youth skill-building programs and place interns within private sector businesses. In addition, the YACO team will mobilize youth to take part in civic engagement, including actions on anti-corruption, environment, climate change, gender, inclusion, and other prominent social issues.
Altogether, over the five-year Activity, we will reach 10,000 youth to improve their awareness and understanding of social and economic opportunities in North Macedonia, helping them be more connected to their communities and have a positive vision for the future.
The Youth Actively Create Opportunities (YACO) Activity in North Macedonia is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. IESC will implement the project in partnership with local partners CEED Hub Skopje and Youth Educational Forum.